Roller rink future is secured by new deal

A flashback to the rink opening in 2009
A flashback to the rink opening in 2009

A deal has been struck to safeguard the future of Wigan and Atherton’s roller rinks - and protect the futures of more than 40 employees.

Administrators Leonard Curtis were called in at The Roller Rink Company Ltd, the parent company for both venues, earlier this month.

Bosses there had confirmed to the Preston-based insolvency experts that trade and tax debts had put the firm, which operates out of Eckersley Mill in Wigan and Victoria Mill in Atherton, in jeopardy.

But now following an internal reorganisation and marketing exercise, a way forward has been found for the rinks.

A statement issued on behalf of administrators Mark Colman and John Titley confirmed that the company, with a trading address in Wigan Road, Ashton, was placed into administration on November 8.

The statement added: “It was confirmed that the business entered administration after losses due to unforeseen increased costs resulted in a build-up of trade and tax liabilities.

“Directors had initially sought the assistance of an external consultant to address the increasing cost base, but this was unsuccessful.

“After legal action was threatened by a creditor appropriate steps were taken to preserve the business, which employed 42 staff.

“The administrators concluded a pre-packaged sale of the business to a connected company after a period of marketing.

“This has resulted in all 42 employees being transferred to the purchasing entity.”

The rinks, off Swan Meadow Road, Wigan, and Bolton Road, Atherton, are understood to have remained trading while the administration process has been ongoing.

Roller skating as a pastime has enjoyed a revival in Wigan, at the grade II listed former mills since 2009, under the auspices of Gary and Dawn Holding, and Tom Fairhurst, who used to DJ there in the 80s.

The previous incarnation of the Wigan rink was opened from the autumn of 1979 to Christmas Eve 1990 .

But supporters retained an enduring affection for roller skating in the meantime, with DJs organising regular reunions at The Orwell.

Staff at the Wigan and Atherton rinks were unavailable for direct comment last night regarding the new arrangements.

But the two venues are already making preparations for their festive opening stints, which will include hosting day and night sessions on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

The Wigan rink has also recently hosted an eleven-hour Northern Soul all-nighter and Atherton has been home to an inline puck hockey team.

Parents in the Wigan area had already seen the unexpected closure of the Oxygen Freejumping operation at Robin Park back in August, which led to the last-minute reorganising of a number of children’s parties based there.